How Much Forgiveness Is Enough?
The summertime has arrived in the high desert of Arizona, and I’m here in the early morning on the mountainside with just a light jacket. It wasn’t too long ago when I was up here in the snow and wrapped in several jackets, and it got me thinking about memory, and if forgiveness can erase the memory in our cells?
I’m rewriting my first book called The Reincarnation of Columbus. Now, when I say I’m rewriting it, it’s a thick book, 430 pages, and I’m dividing it into three because there are three distinct stories in it. It’s all about remembering. In that book, I am remembering the death of my first baby, Ryan Columbus O’Grady.
That was a shock, because here I am now, all these years later, rewriting my memories of that time, and when it comes to pain and trauma, the memories are still as potent. They’re still as shocking and detailed as they were as if it happened yesterday — I’ve realized it must be because the forgiveness is not complete.
The Belief In Forgiveness
After that book was written, I believed and felt I had gone through a huge forgiveness exercise. It was a big cleansing, and Aingeal Rose reminded us all through the years of how DNA is composed of history, of how our memories are history. So, in our DNA, in our very cells, in our very makeup, is the memory of what happened before, and that is where forgiveness must reach to be effective. Why am I bringing this up? Because if it’s all about forgiveness…
How much forgiveness is enough?
I don’t know. I’m here again now, after 30 years and believing I had forgiven everything again, all over, everybody, every detail, every pain, every hurt from that incident. I believed I was completely and totally absolved. And yet when I reread that book to rewrite it, I feel as if no forgiveness happened at all.
It could be I didn’t complete the forgiveness, or it could be I didn’t forgive deeply enough. But the question remains, does anybody ever forgive deeply enough? Are we capable of taking out that pain out of our cellular structure? Are we capable of rewriting the DNA so that there’s only absolution, there’s only total forgiveness, there’s only memories of joy and happiness?
You have to really want to release the belief in guilt, because as long as you believe in guilt, guilt will always demand punishment, on some level.
When I’ve had arguments, I always hear Jesus say, you could choose peace instead. Many times in those moments, I realize I don’t want to. I don’t want to choose peace. Then I hear Jesus say to me, you want him/her to be guilty, right?
Yeah. I didn’t want peace — I wanted to be right!
Do I Really Want Forgiveness?
There are many of us who don’t want forgiveness because there’s something in the drama that we like, and we want, and there’s something about conflict that makes us feel, I don’t know, a victim, or special. So you’ve got this whole argument of, this is what makes me feel alive, I’m in conflict, I’m in pain, I’m suffering because of guilt but I prefer that to forgiveness, to living in peace. So, when you say, do you really want to give up the guilt? A lot of times we don’t.
Because innocence is boring, right?
Innocence is bliss, but in the midst of drama, it appears boring. If you were without pain, without conflict, frustration, ambition, without caring, and without anything that’s going on emotionally, what would you have? We tend to think, in our limited thinking, we’d have nothing. That’s why it’s boring.
When you choose peace, an interesting erasure takes place, which I didn’t expect. It was like somebody just took an eraser and erased the memory of pain, and suffering, and conflict from my mind. That was an interesting dynamic, because it was showing me that something happens on a quantum level when forgiveness happens. When we don’t forgive, we hold in our memory that someone is guilty, and that keeps us, and them, sick on some level.
In asking, how much forgiveness is enough, am I forgiving only the pain, or am I erasing the whole incident, or do we have to die to release it? What am I actually forgiving? Am I forgiving the fact that my baby died? Or that he lived?
There isn’t any guilt, and for us to believe in it is a choice. That’s the choice we’re making, and that’s what’s causing the pain in remembering.
We’re choosing to believe in guilt.
Guilt is an interesting thing. The Course In Miracles says, what would you think if you knew that everything that happened was for your good? Death for many people is the release from guilt. Death is the only release they know.
I asked a suicide surviver one time, what are you thinking when you’re doing that? And he goes, you know what you’re thinking? You don’t know what it’s going to be like, but you know it’s going to be different. And that’s what everyone wants. They want things to be different, but they don’t know they can choose peace instead. They don’t know how to ask for forgiveness for themselves or others. It’s hard to let go of these beliefs because they are in your very cells.
The Course In Miracles says the only way to be out of conflict is to give up the idea of it, forever. So, to come full circle with that, when I ask how much forgiveness is enough, it’s enough when you give up the idea that you need forgiveness in the first place. So, it’s erasing the guilt. The method, or the way, is to do exactly what the Course says. Just choose peace.
Just say, I choose peace instead of this.
It says you only need a little willingness. This is why in some ways I think it’s wonderful for us as humans to understand and be empathic with somebody who is in pain like that, and who perhaps even is considering suicide. But the other side of it is that…
There is another side. Forgiveness is peace, but giving up guilt is tough. Our planet runs on guilt and punishment. The court system is just a place where guilt and innocence go back and forth with each other and somebody decides who needs to be punished. I mean, the whole planet is based on that. Where is forgiveness in that system? It’s nowhere to be found.
When I ask how much forgiveness is enough, many people decide that it’s better to die and get out of it. Enlightened people say, it’s better to live forever and transform yourself and keep going to higher and higher levels of evolution until you’re a master, rather than die and have an interrupt and then be born again and have to go through the same thing. Forgiveness is needed now, and you don’t have to learn through adversity. You can choose to learn through joy instead.
Memories make up your body, but they’re not just in your body, they’re in your soul. So you don’t escape from memories, but you want to escape from feeling guilty about them. I used to worry so much about the kids when they were teenagers, and I remember Jesus came to me and said, what’s the matter? Don’t you think their soul is intelligent? And that was kind of a slap across the face like, wake up, you know what I mean? Like, do you think my universe is really that haphazard?
So, for you, how much forgiveness is enough? I leave that question with you today. I’m going to keep writing.
Blessings and bye for now.